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What is an ACVS Diplomate?
The term "ACVS Diplomate" refers to a veterinarian who has been board certified in veterinary surgery. Only veterinarians who have successfully completed the certification requirements of the ACVS are Diplomates of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons and have earned the right to be called specialists in veterinary surgery.                           

Veterinarians wishing to become board certified must complete a three-year residency program, meet specific training and caseload requirements, perform research and have their research published. This process is supervised by current ACVS Diplomates, ensuring consistency in training and adherence to high standards. Once the residency has been completed, the resident must sit for and pass a rigorous examination. Only then does the veterinarian earn the title of ACVS Diplomate.

Why is it important to have an ACVS Diplomate as part of your pet’s health care team?
The Animal Care Team is made up of the owner (client), the general practice veterinarian and the ACVS specialist. Rapid advances in the veterinary profession can make it difficult for veterinarians to remain current with recent developments in techniques and technologies required to manage some of today's complex surgical problems. Possessing the training, expertise and equipment to perform the most demanding procedures, the ACVS Diplomate can help the primary care veterinarian provide the best possible care to the patient.

Difficult cases may be best managed by a specialist. When a referral is indicated, the primary care practitioner should discuss this process with the client. Clients routinely deal with specialists in human healthcare and are familiar with the concept of specialization and the referral process. Owners appreciate referrals for specialized surgical care. Many ACVS Diplomates in private practice work at "referral-only" animal hospitals. Such practices require that the primary care veterinarian contact them rather than the animal owner. In this way, the surgical specialist can be properly informed as to the patient's history and the scope of the current problem.

Once the referral is made, the ACVS Diplomate will provide state-of-the-art surgical patient care. As part of the healthcare team, the surgeon will keep the referring veterinarian and client informed of the patient's progress throughout the specialized care. After patient discharge, the referring veterinarian may also provide additional postoperative follow-up care. This continuity between surgical specialist and primary care veterinarian ensures the best possible outcome for the patient.

Dr. Warzee is a founding member of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons- Surgical Oncology.  She is one of only 35 surgeons to attain this distinction. 

The surgeon plays a central role in the prevention, diagnosis and definitive treatment of neoplastic disease and in the palliation and rehabilitation of cancer patients.  Compared to a general surgeon, a surgical oncologist has training and current knowledge of tumor biology and, importantly, the role of surgery in the multimodality of cancer patients. 

Because surgical oncologists treat a greater volume of cancer patients and have more experience in the management of both rare and common cancers, the outcome for patients treated by surgical oncologists are typically significantly better than for those treated by general surgeons.

Dr. Warzee's team consists of 3 full time licensed veterinary technicians (LVT)who assist her is every phase of her work at ACIC, as well as a dedicated staff of overnight technicians to care for and monitor your pet's recovery. 

What is an LVT?

Licensed Veterinary Technicians are comparable to veterinary nurses, but encompass the whole range of duties done in a veterinary hospital.  All of our LVTs went to school to become technicians at AVMA credentialed schools, and passed state an national licensing exams.  Our technicians are highly trained in their areas of expertise and are used to the full extent of their skills.

Anesthesia and Analgesia (Pain Control):

Pain management protocols are tailor made to suit each individual patient. Protocols may include pre-emptive analgesia to control pain before surgery begins, local anesthesia, long term pain patches, epidural anesthesia including epidural catheters for continuous pain control and CRI (constant rate infusion) of intravenous pain medication. 

Perioperative care:

While your pet is in ACIC for surgery, there are many services that we provide to ensure the best possible care for your pet. Some pets may benefit from starting preoperative medications when they are admitted into the hospital.  This is especially important if they have preexisting medical conditions such as a heart or kidney disease, and it can also be helpful in patients that are anxious due to stress or pain.  In addition, beginning preoperative intravenous fluids can be beneficial in older patients and those who may be dehydrated due to disease.

During surgery, patients are monitored using advanced monitoring equipment that includes: EKG, blood pressure, temperature, pulse, respiratory rate, and capnography, which monitors carbon dioxide produced during breathing.  We also use a ventilator during surgery to ensure optimal breathing while your pet is under anesthesia. A warm air blanket may be used to keep your pet warm during and after surgery, preventing complications caused by hypothermia.     
The ACIC surgical team strives to provide your pet with the best care while they are in our hospital.

24 hour postoperative nursing care:

Postoperative patients are managed by a licensed veterinary technician (LVT)who provides the intensive care necessary for all of our postoperative patients. The postoperative period is a critical time in facilitating the patient’s recovery. The surgical team is committed to advanced quality pain control both during and after your pet’s surgery. The ACIC also has an in-house blood bank for any patient that may require a blood or plasma transfusion while in the hospital. We strive to provide high quality health care with an exceptional bedside manner.

Follow-up evaluations and continued cancer treatment at ACIC.Follow-up after surgical resection of the patients cancer:

All of our surgical cancer patients are carefully and routinely followed after they are discharged from the hospital either solely at ACIC or with the assistance of the referring veterinarian.  Re-examinations are scheduled as needed depending on the type of cancer the patient had, the surgical procedure performed, whether the patient has a bandage that needs to be changed and what adjunctive treatment is planned in addition to surgery to treat the cancer.

Members of the surgical team are always available to answer any questions or concerns that the owner may have about their pet.  Owners are, however, routinely contacted 2–3 days after the pet had surgery to make sure that there are no immediate concerns.

Owners are also contacted as soon as possible with the biopsy results (usually within 3–5 days).  At that time Dr. Warzee will discuss with them the diagnosis, prognosis and what follow-up is indicated.

Referral to other oncologic specialty services within ACIC.

ACIC offers a complete range of established cancer treatment options for your pet.  As far as the surgical oncology patient is concerned the treatment modalities that are most often used in combination with surgery are:

Radiation Therapy:

Radiation therapy is used to treat localized cancer in two situations: As an adjunct to surgical resection when the surgery alone cannot completely remove all the cancer and therefore by itself, cure the patient. As a sole means of treating a cancer that cannot be surgical removed due to its location on the body.

Medical Oncology / Chemotherapy:

Chemotherapy is used in conjunction with surgical removal of the cancer when there is a known high risk of the cancer spreading to other parts of the body.  Generally chemotherapy is started as soon as possible after the surgery, often while the patient is recovering in the hospital, if the diagnosis is already known.  If not, then it is begun as soon as a final diagnosis is obtained.

The goal of the Surgery Department at the Animal Cancer and Imaging Center is to provide the highest quality of care available for surgical patients.  We strive to give every patient comprehensive anesthetic, surgical, and postoperative care and to do so in an atmosphere of excellence and compassion.  As part of ACIC, a strong focus of our surgical department is surgical oncology. Peri-operative pain management is a critical focus for the surgical team at ACIC.